I Smell a Gritty Reboot: “Modern Take” on Little Women Coming to ABC

Marmee!

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Y’all, I just don’t know anymore.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, ABC is teaming with Natascha McElhone (Californication) on a “limited series” modern adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women. The special event will

[…] follow the lives of four sisters coming of age against the backdrop of a military scandal as their family loses their fortune and position finding themselves at odds with the conservative and traditional society in which they live.

Little Women‘s script commitment comes from the ABC “boutique division,” a unit tasked with developing “challenging” programming for the network. McElhone will star and executive produce alongside Simmone Overend and Alison Owen. Jordan Roberts (Big Hero 6March of the Penguins) will adapt the script, and Julie Anne Robinson (Suburgatory) will direct.

It’s exciting to see such a kick-ass, lady-powered creative team adapting a story that is undeniably still relevant today. Little Women remains a classic partially because it features identifiable heroines that manage to defy the “strong female character” fallacy; Jo, for instance, is radically independent and ambitious for the time period, but Alcott also allowed her to be emotional and fallible.

Still, though, I’m kind of stuck on the “modern reboot” aspect of ABC’s adaptation. I mean, how do you find the modern equivalent for something like Pilgrim’s Progress without seeming gimmicky? What, in 2014, is analogous to giving a suitor one’s glove? (If Meg gives Mr.Brooke some underwear, I will die.) I’ve got a feeling we’re going to be treated to lots of narrating voice-over scenes of Jo typing, which just seems so much less charming than The Little Women I fell in love with. But I hope ABC surprises me!

What do you guys think?

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